Tiaira – Florida A & M University

Tiaira graduated from Dunbar Pre-Engineering High School in Washington, DC where she found it "easy to catch onto the pre-engineering technology software". She participated in both the Reach for College! class at Dunbar and the citywide RfC Saturday Academy in her junior and senior years.

Desire to go to College, Not Sure How to Get There

Tiaira always wanted to go to college but she didn't know what she needed to do to get there. She credits being in the Reach for College! program with helping her "know how to go to college" in several ways. First, having a class where classmates worked together on SAT prep, college applications and scholarships made it easier for her to stay focused. "If you see other people doing it [applying for college] you want to do it. While there was a little competition, you're not going through it by yourself. You can ask questions."

Second, the RFC-sponsored college visits helped her to see how colleges worked. She could see how big and small colleges looked and determine if the students seemed friendly. Tiaira particularly enjoyed the opportunity to sit in an college class when she visited the University of Virginia.

Third, having guest speakers come to her RFC class gave her the opportunity to better understand different careers. When an attorney spoke to her class, Tiaira was able to ask her about internships and a typical day might look like for a lawyer.

Tiaira said her participation in the RFC Saturday Academy made her "more aware of my city. Now if people ask me stuff, I'll know [the answers]" because of the city explorations done as part of the Saturday Academy. She thanks the Saturday Academy for "making me appreciate my city more."

Advice to Other Students in Her Community

Reflecting on students in her D.C. community, Tiaira felt "a lot of them think it [college] is not possible. They think college isn't for them." Her response to this is, "Why not?" She would like to "break it down to them that college is not that hard if you try." Having more young people go to college would help her community. "A young kid would see others go to college. They'd have role models. And if more college educated people try to give back to the community, it would make a difference."

Tiara's advice to high school students: "Have patience. Patience. Patience. Be persistent."

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